Katie Collier was best known for being the wife of Jason Collier, an American professional basketball player in the NBA. He passed away on October 15, 2005, a the age of 28, from an abnormally enlarged heart leaving behind his wife and daughter, Ella Collier, who was 2 years old then.
Katie runs the Jason J. Collier Charitable Foundation, funded by substantial donations made by the NBA and others at the time of Collier’s death. She has made contributions to several educational and medical organizations.
Katie Collier & Jason Collier
Jason Collier and Katie first met at Georgia Institute of Technology College, which Jason attended from 1998 to 2000. He was part of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets men’s basketball team.
Jason and Katie celebrated their marriage in 2001, a year after he was drafted as the 15th pick NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. They remained married for four years until Jason’s death in 2005.
Their daughter Ella was born in Georgia. She spent her first 10 days in intensive care. The couple returned to the house when Collier was signed to a pair of 10-day contracts by the Hawks in 2004. It was the home with the glass front door held shut with a wooden stick. The driveway held the pickup truck, Collier, ready for an off-the-bench role, would use to make the long drives back and forth to Atlanta for practice and games.
It all disappeared on a terrible night. It became only the house Collier was last in when his life was cut short. Katie had the house torn down after his husband’s death since it had both good and bad memories.
“For the longest time, I blamed basketball,” Katie said in an interview. “I said, ‘If Jason hadn’t played basketball, this would never have happened. It was in my head all the time. It made his heart big. They overworked him.
“You say things to people that you don’t realize. I think I lit into (then Hawks coach) Mike Woodson, or Jason’s mom did because you feel like he was pushed too hard, which killed him. But that’s not what happened. It’s taken a long time to realize that it might have happened even if he wasn’t playing.”
Katie Collier, Daughter
Ella Collier plays volleyball for Denmark as a locker. She stands at 6-foot-3 and wears No. 40 for the Danes, the same number Jason wore during his two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks.
“I would have been 2 that January,” Ella said of her father’s death. “I was young, so I don’t remember anything, but I have my whole family to tell me memories and stuff.”
Jason Collier Death & Cause
Collier passed suddenly at 28 on October 15, 2005, in Cumming, Georgia, during the NBA off-season. An autopsy was conducted to confirm his cause of death, and it indicated that he died because of a “sudden heart rhythm disturbance caused by an abnormally enlarged heart.”
Georgia’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Kris Sperry, said Collier’s heart “was above the accepted limits, even for a man of his size” and said the organ was about one and a half times the size it should have been. It was reported that he experienced shortness of breath before losing consciousness. Emergency medical technicians performed medical treatment, but Collier died en route to the hospital.